1887

The Book of Fortune and Prudence

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These new translations of Bernat Metge’s <i>Libre de Fortuna e Prudència</i> (1381) into Spanish (verse) and English (prose) make this key early work by 14th-century Catalonia’s most challenging writer available to the wider audience it has longed deserved. As with Metge’s masterwork, <i>Lo somni</i> (The Dream), recently translated by Cortijo Ocaña and Elisabeth Lagresa (Benjamins, 2013), the writing of The Book of Fortune and Prudence seems to have been precipitated by a larger crisis in Catalan society, in this case, an all-too-familiar-sounding banking crisis. Drawing on sources ranging from Boethius, to the Roman de la Rose to Arthurian fable, Metge unveils the workings of the world through his two allegorical women, Fortune (good and bad) and Prudence, in a search for consolation in the midst of inexplicable reversals of fortune--those of others, and perhaps his own. But as in the Somni, Metge refuses here to offer pat solutions to the crises of his day, offering what is perhaps one of our earliest glimpses of the impact of new ideas coming from Italy in the Iberian Peninsula. The work is written in the popular noves rimades form (octosyllabic rhymed couplets) in the challenging mix of Occitan and Catalan common to verse writing in 14th century Catalonia. Cortijo’s and Martines’s tri-lingual edition, together with its fine introduction and notes, is an extremely valuable contribution as it makes this unduly neglected text of the later Iberian Middle Ages available for students and other readers in a broadly accessible, yet scholarly, form. (<i><strong>Prof. John Dagenais</strong>, UCLA</i>)

http://instance.metastore.ingenta.com/content/books/9789027271051
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